RANDOLPH, NJ – Professor Maria Estelle Picouto at County College of Morris (CCM) recently was informed that as an International Latino Book Award finalist she will be receiving the Award for Best Novel Historical Fiction in Spanish for her novel, “Estelita."

The book, which Picouto wrote as a tribute to her mother, also is the recipient of two honors from the Luis Munoz Marin Foundation. “Estelita” was chosen by the foundation as a book of importance to the history of Puerto Rico and selected for a community-based project to promote the reading of books addressing topics of cultural and historical interest to Puerto Rico. Luis Munoz Marin was a Puerto Rican journalist, politician, statesman and the first elected governor of Puerto Rico.

As an International Latino Book Award finalist, Picouto will have her book widely promoted as part of “taking books by and about Latinos to a higher level.” She will receive recognition for her award at a virtual celebration on Sept. 12. At CCM, Picouto, a member of the Department of Languages and ESL since 2006, teaches Spanish.

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“I wrote this novel with the main idea of honoring the memory of my mother Estelle Sanjurjo Gely,” says Picouto. “It is a novel based on the story of the Sanjurjo-Gely family. It covers the periods from 1800 to 1955 and its pages are full of intrigue, envy, lies, loneliness, abandonment, physical, emotional and institutional abuse.”

Picouto spent 25 years conducting interdisciplinary anthropological and historical research for the book. A central element of the novel is the year 1917 when the first big Puerto Rican migration to New York took place. The book is available on Amazon.

To learn more about the language programs offered at CCM, go to http://bit.ly/CCMLanguages/.